Nightlife brands that are imported to cities like Miami, Las Vegas and New York come from many cities across the United States. Clubs from England and France also have made a go of it. Even operators from Canada have made their mark. Now Eastern Europe brings Bamboo to Miami. Bamboo is a Romanian-based nightclub that has ambitiously moved into the old Paris Theatre on Washington and 5th Street in South Beach. It has 33 tables, and an expansion to an upper level is in the works.
In Romania, waitrons go to hospitality school for four years to break into the business. Service — not the smiling-failed-model-dropping-the-bottle kind — has been promised. A great deal of effort was put into the design, and more is expected from staff. Instead of traveling down the beaten nightclub path, Bamboo promises to change the game.
Managing Partner Stan Tudor says the club will not base its promotions or entertainment on importing big-name DJs. He boasts of club-specific music, saying management is "creating their own sound experience." The design "says luxury," and Tudor is confident that he and his crew will attract the old and new moneyed crowds that flock to Miami. The nightlife wheel needs to be reinvented continuously, and Bamboo is hoping to reap the rewards of not just being different but being better.
Nightclub Confidential (NCC): Bamboo nightclub has opened in the old Paris Theatre Space in South Beach. It's a great space. Tell me about the decision. What are the advantages in terms of size, location and other factors?
Stan Tudor: The Paris Theater is one of South Beach's gems. It is a historic venue, and we felt that the space and its history were of the standards of Bamboo — to offer an unmatched experience to our patrons. It is spacious, wide and expansive, allowing us to play with the space. We love the skylights and created a built-in runway to offer the option of hosting runway installations.
NCC: People/groups from all over the world have eyed Miami and other hot U.S. cities for clubs. You have the hottest nightclub in Eastern Europe. Tell me about the Romanian connection. What have you found to be the differences between operating in Miami vs. Romania?
Tudor: Firstly, Bamboo Group was founded in Romania, and we are the pioneers of entertainment with over 10 years of experience in operating opulent international nightclubs. In America, Bamboo will fill the void of service — something that is often seen overseas at their nightlife venues, where the staff is hired to take care of the needs of patrons. We pride ourselves on white-glove service. Overseas, you find that staff must receive a certificate to work in the hospitality/entertainment industry. We find that most American venues simply hire people to fill positions, not focusing on how well their staff will take care of the venue's patrons.
NCC: The Nightclub & Bar 2012 Top 100 lists three Miami-based nightclubs: No. 5 LIV grossed an estimated $35 to 45 million in 2012, No. 14 Mango's Tropical Café grossed $25 to 35 million and No. 22 the Clevelander grossed $15 to 25 million. Tell me how the tourist-based economy is cultivated and where might you rank on this list next year.
Tudor: Miami attracts people from across the globe. Europeans are attracted to our beaches and nightlife venues. If they are or aren't familiar with Bamboo, they will be! We hope to rank No. 1 on the list next year. Word spreads like wildfire, and first-timers at Bamboo will have nothing but positive stories to share.
NCC: The design is, to say the least, opulent. Tell me how you balance design with material durability.
Tudor: Our furniture and décor is imported from Europe. It is made with the utmost attention to detail and is durable. If items are exposing a weathered appearance, we handle new material requests from Europe to keep the same luxury standards that we unveiled upon our U.S. opening.
NCC: Big name DJs and predictable DJs aren’t in your plan. Tell me about your musical programming.
Tudor: We have created our own sound at Bamboo. It is a signature sound that uses an eclectic mix of contemporary music.
NCC: You indicated that you were basically reinventing the wheel — to be specific, reinventing service and rethinking the bottle/table mentality. Besides the music, what other club norms will be updated?
Tudor: Entertainment. Throughout the night, we have special cabaret-style performances that are extremely artistic and thematic. Some are provocative. Some are highly energetic. Our team of dancers is trained in diverse areas of dance. Their costumes are also very elaborate from diamond headdresses and brassieres to leather and lace ensembles.
NCC: Tell me about your experience in Las Vegas. What are the differences and similarities between the Las Vegas and Miami markets?
Tudor: The Vegas market is similar to the Romanian market: They have higher standards in services at nightlife venues. Miami venues lack in the service area. Importing Bamboo Group to Miami Beach will change the game, and our patrons will expect to see this kind of service at other Miami venues, but will find that they may not. Our international venue hires staff members who have a certificate in hospitality. It is a requirement — something more than an attractive smile and spirit.
NCC: Can you tell us about your sound system and DJ equipment?
Tudor: We have the world's top-rated L'Acoustics sound system ... that speaks on its own!